Sunrise in Cedar Knolls, NJ.
It has been a whirlwind. I can remember the panic setting in on December 26th when Dan and I looked at each other, and the enormity of amount that needed to get done revealed itself. Somehow, impossibly, we managed to pack up our belongings into 40+ boxes. One by one, strangers from Craigslist and friends came by to take away our couch, lamps, nightstands, even our vacuum cleaner. I made countless trips to Housing Works, walking back and forth the two blocks from our apartment holding an armful of our possessions and wondering if people will enjoy our things as much as we did. With our apartment emptying out, one day we had no choice but to eat lunch on beach chairs pulled up to our TV stand. It was the only piece of furniture we didn't sell, so on our last night together in New York, Dan and I lugged Besta Jarga out on the street. We went to see The Descendants at the small theater on 85th and First, and in typical NYC fashion, it was gone by our return. The next morning, we got up from bed, stripped off the sheets, wrapped the mattress in plastic and unceremoniously dumped it on the sidewalk. Given that it was a Saturday and a holiday, there would probably be no garbage pick up the next day; our parting gift a blight on our neighborhood - we're sorry for that.
Dan left for the airport the day we moved out. He had always planned it at the way. He was excited to start the New Year anew in our new city. The way he talked about it, I kept imagining on New Year's Day our lives our magically reset like pushing a button, and we would be starting over. In a way, it's true.
Last moments in the apartment.
So much luggage to load.
There he goes!
I booked my flight a week later so I could spend my last week in New Jersey with my family. I was spending New Year's Eve with Adam and Nell, so after I said good-bye to Dan, I walked around our neighborhood one last time and tried to take it all in. I noted the restaurants on Second Avenue we went to; the ones we missed. The people walking around oblivious to my circumstance and I to theirs. The construction of the Second Avenue subway. It was a mild day; I was too hot wearing a coat. I browsed some books at Barnes & Noble and waited on an insanely long line for cupcakes at Two Little Red Hens bakery one last time.
The Q train that goes to Adam and Nell's apartment goes above ground for a short while over the Manhattan Bridge. The sun was setting, and I could see the glistening water, the iconic Lower Manhattan skyline and Lady Liberty. I was trying to have a moment, but there was a crazy guy on the train screaming, "BOOM!" over and over again. I looked over at the guy sitting next to me. He was updating his Facebook status. "There is a crazy guy on the train yelling "BOOM!" There was my moment.
Adam and Nell invited a few friends over, and we made homemade pizzas and played games. I grew tired and quiet early but was grateful for the company. The next day, it was hard to leave and so I didn't. We stayed in our pajamas and worked on a puzzle until I had to force myself to go.
Upon arriving in NJ, I made a page-long to-do list for the week and managed to get through none of it. My mom asked me to spend some time cleaning some of my old stuff that I had left at her house almost a decade ago when I first moved out. I assumed it would take an evening or two to get done, but apparently I used to be quite a pack rat because there were so many papers and mementos and things that I barely made a dent. It was surprising and almost comforting to find references to my old ambition to "move to LA" and "work in movies." I completely forget that I once felt that way.
I tried my best to see everyone before I left. Believe it or not - we even managed to have a 'Stock. (See Nell's blog for the deets). I even reconnected with some old high school friends before I left, including Laura, Stacy, Becky, Chris and Juliette.
Laura visits me from Portland.
Laughingstock! (Photo by Nell)
It probably comes to no surprise that in the end of it all, I got really sick. A sore throat turned into a nasty nasal waterfall turned into sinus trouble. On my last night, my mom made roast beef for dinner, and Pete came over.
I haven't been overly emotional about the move. This is strange for me, I admit. When I tell people I am moving, I feel like I am telling them I am going away to college. I took very few pictures in the last month. It is almost like I didn't want to memorialize that this was the "last time" I was doing anything. I refused to say any serious good-byes. The only time my eyes really welled up was on Christmas Eve and my brother told me that he was genuinely happy for me that I was making this decision and was so excited about this new chapter in my life. It was everything I wanted to hear.
When the plane left the runway, I was surprised to find myself crying. Someone told me that would happen, but I didn't think it would happen to me. As I sit on the plane now, sweaty and snotty and cramped in the middle seat, I am looking forward to seeing my husband at the airport (he has already called me with gleeful reports about barbecues in January, wearing flip flops and invigorating morning runs). I am excited that it will be 70 degrees when I get off the plane. I am sad to leave my mom behind. I am grateful she made me a lunch for my plane ride (ham sandwich, m&ms, cookies, an apple, grapes, cough drops - thanks Mamoosh!) I wonder what awaits me and already long for what I left behind.
Made it to LA sick as a dog.
Going "home" to Ara's.